There is no such thing as a soft Brexit, the only Brexit that can happen is a hard one or none at all. The EU, a regulatory entity, simply cannot undo the various treaties and agreements made between it’s members over the last few decades just to satisfy requirements of the British. As a poster mentioned previously, any deal they get would also then have to be given to Canada and others. Even a hard Brexit doesn’t mean the UK will no longer be affected by European regulations, take for example GDPR, after a hard Brexit British companies will still need to adhere by it if they want to business with European citizens, same as businesses in all countries, or if British citizens travel to the European union, their government simply won’t be able to influence any changes to it after Brexit, the exact same applies across the board from Food regulation to manufacturing. Brexiteers seem to think that Brexit means the EU ceases to exist, it will still be there and the British will still need to transact with it and therefore have to abide by a lot of its rules, like it or not. Brexit is merely an illusion of autonomy in a Globalised world.
I like the Golf club analogy used by I think it was ‘Pouca’ in the FT comments, my own take on the analogy:
Club member: My family and I don’t like the way you make your rules, We don’t want to be in the club anymore.
Club committee: OK no problem, you know that means you won’t be able to get the benefits of membership nor play on the course anymore, apart from the open day we have once a month for non-members, you’ll still need to follow the rules on that day though.
Club Member: No we want to play all the time and we’d like some of the benefits of membership, we just don’t want to follow your rules anymore nor do we want to pay your fees.
Club committee: Is it that you want to follow completely different rules?
Club Member: No, we’ll play by the same rules we just like the notion of setting our own, we just don’t want you setting rules we need to abide by or to pay any fees.
Club committee: Hmmm, ok. Well we’ll continue to set the rules for our club without you, you just won’t have a voice anymore. And we can’t give you any special status, you’re either a member or not a member there is no in between, even if we were willing we are unable to change the rules just for you.
Club Member: How about we follow rules A & B, but not C&D, can we play whenever we want then, for free?
Club committee: No, if you want to play the course you have to play by the rules, we have built these rules over decades and everyone agrees to abide by them, we simply cannot make an exception just for you.
Club Member: OK OK, I promised them we would get the benefits of membership even after we left so how about we follow B, C and D, but not A?
Club committee: No, if you want to play the course you have to play by the rules.
Club Member: OK OK, how about we follow A, C and D, but not B?
Club committee: No, if you want to play the course you have to play by the rules. Etc etc for 2 years
Club member: OK so we have come up with a white paper that details how we are going to follow some of the rules and not others and still get a lot of the benefits of club membership including playing on the course and not paying fees, we have torn ourselves apart negotiating with ourselves on it before we sent it over on the assumption you will say yes because we are crossing our own red lines here, so please throw us a bone, some of the family are even saying we are not really leaving the club.
Expected response: You are leaving the club as per your own request, and as stated numerous times already if you want the benefits of membership you have to play by the rules, all of them. You’re membership expires next March for which you still owe us fees, see you at open day after that and don’t forget, even on open day you still have to follow the rules.
There simply cannot be a soft Brexit, at least what the British perceive that to be, either exit as a third country with a trade deal similar to other non-members or don’t exit at all.